The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


8 Months jail for child sex abuse images

Co-operation between the Department of Internal Affairs and the United States National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMC) led to the imprisonment today of Te Puke man on a total of 25 charges of collecting and distributing on the Internet images of children being sexually abused.

The Tauranga District Court sentenced him to eight months jail and ordered forfeiture and destruction of his computer and diskettes. Judge Christopher Harding said that the man's offending victimised the children concerned and children in general. He granted him leave to apply for home detention but did not defer the start of prison term.

The Director of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that international co-operation between law enforcement agencies is a vital part of action against child sex abuse images. Without such co-operation it would be impossible for agencies to work effectively on the Internet.

Two weeks ago in a separate case, another man had been sentenced in the Tauranga Court after a case involving the Department and a Canadian agency.

“We work with overseas agencies nearly every day,” Mr Manch said. “While the Internet has made it much easier for offenders to operate across borders, it also makes it much easier for law enforcement agencies to work with each other.

“We share intelligence about offenders, carry out operations together and exchange knowledge and new ideas about law enforcement on the Internet.”

In this case, in May 2003 NCMC found a New Zealander using an Internet message club to exhibit images of young boys involved in sexual acts.

NCMC sent the information to the Department, which identified the New Zealander and tracked him to his Te Puke home.

In September 2003 Department inspectors executed a search warrant and seized his Thomas’ computer and 80 diskettes. He admitted posting the pictures in the message club from his computer and collecting what he called “child sex” pictures.

The Department’s analysis revealed 14,580 pictures and 844 movies on the computer and 1,418 pictures on the diskettes. About 80% of these files were objectionable because they were of young boys, from babies to early teens, having sexual acts inflicted on them, performing sex acts and in sexualised poses.

“Collections like this start with the tragedy of children being sexually abused,” Mr Manch said.

“The victims are real babies and children whose abuse is permanently recorded in videos and pictures for the gratification of people who take ‘pleasure’ from it.

“Its dissemination spreads the false message that sex with children is acceptable, and collectors create a market for more images and more extreme images.

“Without these offenders, fewer children would have been abused, and there would be less danger of more abuse in the future.”

The Department sees its action against child sex abuse images as part of New Zealand’s contribution to international efforts to help protect children from abuse.

He is a 45-year-old unemployed man. At an earlier hearing he pleaded guilty to five charges of distributing child sex abuse images and 20 representative charges of possession.

New Zealand agencies

To help explain which New Zealand agency people should contact if they have information about child sex abuse images, I would like to explain the different roles of the organisations involved.

The Department of Internal Affairs investigates and prosecutes users of Internet child sex abuse images.

Our Inspectors work on the Internet to track and identify offenders. They then execute search warrants, seize computers and other material, carry out the forensic analysis, prepare the prosecution files and work with the Crown Solicitor presenting the case in court.

New Zealand Customs takes action against importation of objectionable material, and Police and Child Youth and Family are involved when there is possible physical abuse of New Zealand children.

As you can imagine, cases can easily cross over into different agencies areas of expertise and inter-agency operations are common, but one agency always takes the lead.

If members of the public have information about Internet child sex abuse images, they should contact the Department. Our toll free number is 0800 257 887.

If they have concerns about possible physical abuse of children, they should call their local Police station or Child Youth and Family office. They should call Customs with information about importation of objectionable material.

Having said that, of course we work closely together and if information is reported to the “wrong” agency, it will be passed on.

Keith Manch
Director, Gaming and Censorship Regulation

Media contact:

Keith Manch
Director Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

Vincent Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 027 272 4270